3-2-1 Smoked BBQ Ribs

I cook these ribs in my Masterbuilt XL Thermotemp smoker, but this recipe definitely works in the oven, which I have done many times before!


  • 1 full rack of ribs.
    • My preferred cut of ribs for this recipe is St. Louis, but baby back or even Spareribs would work for this recipe
    • Country style does not work the best
  • 1/3 cup of honey
  • 1 cup of brown sugar (split in half)
  • 1/4 cup paprika (smoked preferably) 
  • 1/2 TBSP of garlic powder
  • 1/2 TBSP of onion powder
  • 1/2 TBSP of celery seeds(optional)
  • 1/4 TBSP of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 TBSP of cumin
  • S&P (2 TBSP each approximately)
  • 1/2 cup favorite BBQ sauce (optional)


  1. Unpackage ribs and put them in the sink
  2. The hardest step is now, removing the membrane on the underside of the ribs
    • The best tool to do this I have found is a butter knife
    • If you do not know how to do this, there are plenty of tutorials. Here is a good one—> Youtube
    • This is necessary to ensure the ribs get seasoning all the way around and the membrane tastes gamey if left on 
  3. Once the membrane is removed, combine all of the ingredients EXCEPT the honey and 1/2 of the brown sugar into a bowl
  4. After the seasoning is mixed, liberally spread all over the ribs, covering 100% of the surface area
  5. Ideally, you can season the ribs overnight in the refrigerator to get maximum flavor 
  6. Preheat the oven/smoker to 225 degrees

3-2-1 Method

  1. Place the ribs straight on the rack, with a baking sheet lined with foil to catch the drippings on the rack below.
  2. Set the timer for 3 hours
  3. After 3 hours, take the ribs out and set aside while you prep the foil
  4. For this step you will need a decent amount of tin foil, enough to completely make a wrap and seal around the entire rack of ribs
    • Make a big line of tinfoil on the counter, creating a giant square/rectangle 
    • Down the center of the tinfoil, sprinkle the other half of brown sugar and then top the sugar by drizzling the honey, covering the sugar.
    • This area of honey/sugar should be a rectangle about the size of the ribs
  5. Place the ribs MEAT SIDE DOWN on the sugar/honey mixture
  6. Wrap the ribs in the rest of the foil, creating a tight seal with little room between the ribs and foil
    • You can use multiple layers of foil if needed
    • Do not let the foil split as anything cannot leak out of the foil packet
  7. Once wrapped, place back into the oven at another 225 degrees 
  8. Set the timer for 2 hours
  9. After 2 hours, take the ribs out and unwrap carefully
  10. The ribs will be very tender at this point, handle with care to maintain the full rack without it falling apart
  11. Raise the oven/smoker temp to 250 degrees
  12. Place the ribs back into the oven/smoker
  13. Set the timer for 1 hour
  14. If you want to sauce the ribs, 10 minutes before the ribs are done cooking in the final 1-hour increment, take them out and brush on your favorite BBQ Sauce
    • I use Homemade BBQ Sauce but any sauce will work!
  15. Place the sauced ribs back on the rack for the last 10 minutes to caramelize the sauce 
  16. Take out and DIG IN

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